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Professor on a quest for "holy grail" of music

October 11, 2011

WAUKESHA, WIS.—Dr. Lawrence Dale Harper, professor of music at Carroll University, will present a lecture of reflections on his summer 2011 trip to Germany. "In Search of the Holy Grail: Reflections on My Visit to the Richard Wagner Festival in Bayreuth, Germany" will be at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011, in the Dorothy Goff Frisch Recital Hall in Shattuck Music Center, 218 N. East Ave., Waukesha. This event is free and open to the public.

The Bayreuth Festival is an annual 30-day event devoted to the operas of 19th century composer Richard Wagner, performed in the opera house he designed specifically – and exclusively – for his work. The festival first opened in 1876 and has become a pilgrimage for Wagner enthusiasts.

"Tickets to the festival are nearly impossible to get," Harper said. "I was on the wait list for 10 years." His patience was finally rewarded with two tickets to two operas.

Prior to attending the festival, Harper spent time touring German sites, particularly in Berlin, Leipzig and Dresden. His talk will include photos from his trip and reflections on German history, especially the Holocaust.

Although Adolf Hitler is a 20th century figure, he had close ties to the Wagner family and Bayreuth. In fact, during the Second World War, the festival was turned over to the Nazi party. "It’s ironic that the works of this great artist are associated with a monstrous figure," Harper said. His reflections will ponder that relationship and the world-class performance of Wagner’s music he witnessed.

For more information, contact Harper at 262.524.7188 or


Contact: Jess Owens 262-951-3104

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